Yemenis in New York threw a shoe in the direction of outgoing Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whom they say should be standing before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and not staying at Manhattan’s Luxury Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The shoe did not hit Saleh but sent home the message that Yemenis are angry he is getting pampered instead of facing justice for his crimes against the Yemeni people.
On Thursday February 2, 2012, a press conference was organized in front of the Ritz Carlton, where Yemenis and Yemeni Americans standing on the sidewalk opposite the hotel expressed their anger by waving placards with slogans saying “democracies should not host dictators,” as well as photographs of people who were killed in Yemen’s year-long revolution.
“Dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh is staying at this hotel, so we came out to protest the fact that our government would allow him into this country to begin with. We don’t feel that he should be here in the United States of America. We think it sends the wrong message to the Middle East, if you’re saying that you support democracy in the Middle East, and you’re anti-extremism in the Middle East, then you shouldn’t be supporting dictators. You should be supporting people on the ground who are calling for a democracy. I mean, for years, we’ve criticized the Muslim world, for turning to extremism and not sharing the same democratic values, meanwhile we have an entire generation that’s rising up and demanding democracy, and meanwhile, you’re hosting a dictator in a five-star hotel. The message is conflicting, and there should be a consistent message coming from the White House.”
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